The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) said the security officer who told pro-life students to remove their pro-life gear upon entering the building on January 20, 2023, the day of the national March for Life in Washington, D.C., is no longer working at any NARA facility.
According to The Daily Signal, NARA’s security team consists of private contractors. A NARA investigation “determined a supervisor that it employed, who was working that day, provided instructions to other security officers who work for the same vendor that were contrary to our policy,” said acting Archivist Debra Steidel Wall. “The vendor has removed this supervisor from NARA’s contract, and that individual is no longer working in any NARA facility.”
On January 20, four pro-lifers were told by NARA security that they had to either remove or cover up their pro-life attire or they would be removed from the building. NARA policy states that it “expressly allows all visitors to wear T-shirts, hats, buttons, etc., that display protest language, including religious and political speech,” and the agency said its security personnel quickly corrected their actions and allowed the pro-lifers to enter the building without removing or covering their pro-life gear.
Wall said that the security officer who asked visitors to remove or cover up their pro-life clothing “did so in violation of” that policy and that there was no prohibition of pro-life attire in place on the day of the March for Life.
A lawsuit was filed against NARA by the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ) on behalf of the pro-lifers. “[T]hree separate and unrelated groups of individuals were stopped by security at the National Archives, including a pro-life grandmother and her granddaughter. They were told to either take off or cover up pro-life attire, or they would be removed from the building. These individuals simply had shirts, buttons, sweatshirts, and hats expressing their support for the unborn or being part of the pro-life generation,” the ACLJ said in a statement.
Following the filing of the suit, NARA issued an apology and offered to give personal tours to the individuals who were discriminated against as part of an agreement. In addition, NARA said it would retrain its staff.
“NARA shall further reiterate to all NARA security officers, as well as all other NARA personnel who interact with the public … that NARA policy expressly allows all visitors to wear t-shirts, hats, buttons, and other similar items, that display protest language, including religious and political speech,” the agreement reads, according to CNN.
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